Our District is continuing to make preparations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and we will proceed with the emergency closure, in light of the public health emergency declared by Governor Brian Kemp on March 14, 2020. The closure is effective Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice; however, District essential functions including payroll, student learning, technology, and maintenance, will continue. During this time, employees may be asked to report to work and serve in essential capacities at the discretion of their supervisors; additionally, District employees with regular work schedules will continue to be paid according to the normal payroll schedules.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We share your concerns and encourage you to take the necessary measures to protect you and your family during this unprecedented level of a pandemic affecting our community. It is imperative that we work together to prioritize the well-being of our students and staff while continuing to uphold our primary purpose: student learning.

Sincerely,
David F. Lewis, Ed.D.,
Superintendent of Education

Telecommuting Process and Guidelines

Telecommuting is a work arrangement in which some or all work is performed from home or other off-site location.

As of March 25, 2020, all MCSD employees with regular work schedules have been auto-designated as telecommuters. In general, regular office hours are observed, However, the immediate supervisor may approve a work schedule outside of regular business hours. Employees with regular work schedules will continue to be paid based on their regular work schedules. Please note, secondary assignments and overtime hours do not count towards regular work schedules.

Items To Consider
  • We are encouraging supervisors to be flexible in allowing telecommuting arrangements where feasible. A supervisor’s decision as to whether a telecommuting arrangement is feasible will depend upon:
    • The employee’s job responsibilities – if certain tasks and assignments can be performed at home or must be performed in person or on-site location.
    • Availability of necessary equipment and materials to perform work in the home environment – if it is one in which the employee can work productively and safely; and/or other factors as the District may deem appropriate.
  • When telecommuting, employees are still obligated to comply with all District rules, policies, and procedures (as they may be modified by the District) to the extent they are deemed necessary and/or appropriate.
Have Questions?
If you would like to discuss expectations regarding telecommuting; please contact your direct supervisor or your respective HR Coordinator:

Employee Wellness Resources

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is intended to provide employees with access to deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health, and well-being. Due to COVID-19, our Benefits partners are offering an EAP option for all employees for at no cost:

  • Pastoral Institute is the EAP provider for MCSD and offers employees and their family members with individual and group counseling. MCSD has partnered with Pastoral Institute to provide employees with the first five visits per fiscal year at no cost to employees.
  • Mutual of Omaha is currently offering MCSD employees with an EAP option to employees, their spouses or domestic partners, dependent children under the age of 26.

Employee Wellness Resources: Telehealth Options

Telehealth services provide employees with an option to schedule an appointment with an EAP provider without the need for an in-person appointment. Below are some telehealth options being provided by Pastoral Institute and Mutual of Omaha which is for all employees in both benefits and non-benefits eligible positions.

The telehealth services being provided by our Health and Dental providers is for enrolled employees only.

Telehealth Services: Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) – For All Employees

How To Participate in Telehealth EAP Services: Pastoral Institute
Pastoral Institute is a confidential resource for our employees who need to talk to someone about the difficult or complex events in their daily lives. Pastoral Institute offers employees five (5) free visits within a school year for all employees. After the five (5) visits are completed, each employee will be responsible to use his/her insurance or pay for services.

To make an appointment with Pastoral Institute, call 706-649-6500 or 1-800-649-6446 and let them know you are a Muscogee County School District employee.

You will be connected with licensed and certified counselors located across the United States and gain access to professional support with issues that impact your personal, family and work life.

Take advantage of your benefit for any number of issues, including but not limited to:

  • COVID-19
  • Relationships
  • Child and elder care
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Alcohol, drug abuse, and other addictions
  • Domestic violence and anger
  • Divorce, remarriage, and step-parenting
  • Bereavement
  • Work issues

Added to a wait list?

Should you be added to a wait list; Pastoral Institute has partnered with local providers to ensure consistent support for you. Below are the steps you can take to schedule an appointment with affiliate partners:

  1. Select a telehealth affiliate provider from the list below and call to schedule an appointment.
  2. Once the appointment is scheduled, call Amarylis West at 706-649-6507 x 1204 and leave a message with the following:
  • Your first and last name
  • Confirmation that you are an MCSD employee
  • Your phone number
  • Affiliate provider name and location
  • Appointment date and time
Affiliate Provider Name Phone
Carenda Carr-Slade 910-939-1014
Amy Buchanan (CCP) 706-510-1555
Darrin Moore 762-583-8917
Ceasar “Chet” Dumelod 478-475-4608
James Pendergrass 478-475-4608
Rhonda Miller 706-325-0378
Deb McCranie (CCP) 706-450-4567
Jennifer Daley 334-559-6422
Kenneth Hoats (Mandate) 706-881-0401
Susan Marshall 706-333-2879

Please note these instructions are temporary as we manage our COVID-19 response.

How To Participate in Telehealth EAP Services: Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) assists employees and their eligible dependents with personal and job-related concerns such as emotional well-being, families and relationships, legal and financial, healthy lifestyles, and work and life transitions. Mutual of Omaha’s EAP provides professional, confidential  consultation 24 hours a day.  You will speak directly to an EAP professional to receive immediate support and guidance.

Visit: mutualofomaha.com/eap

Call: 1-800-316-2796

Telehealth Services: Health and Dental (Benefits-Enrolled Employees Only)

How To Participate in Telehealth Dental Services: Anthem Members Only

The TeleDentists
The TeleDentists is a service that offers emergency dental care 24/7 on computers, tablets and smartphones. Anthem plans will cover teledentistry exams at 100 percent with no deductibles, copays, paperwork, or claims to file through June 30, 2020.  Anthem covers teledentistry the same way as equivalent care in a dentist’s office.

Ortho@Home
Members can also choose virtual services for teeth straightening through Ortho@Home, Anthem’s new at-home orthodontia program. Members with orthodontic benefits will have access to at-home clear aligner therapy. They will also receive retainers and teeth whitening when treatment is finished.

Making affordable services accessible is part of Anthem’s continuing commitment to meet members’ whole health needs, while providing safe, remote care during the pandemic. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Anthem directly at (800)627-0004 .

How To Participate in Telehealth Health Services: SHBP Members Only

The State Health Benefit Plan is now providing employees who are enrolled in a benefits program access to Telehealth Services.  This is a fantastic tool to enable employees to obtain medical advice and treatment without having to tax our Hospital and Emergency Room personnel and system.  CLICK HERE to view how to register for Telehealth services using the LiveHealth Platform.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new temporary law titled Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that provides employees with two provisions:

  • The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)

The temporary rule is effective from April 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Employee Eligibility
All employees, including temporary or other third party vendor employees, may be eligible to apply for FFCRA. Approval of FFCRA will be considered by the Division of Human Resources and be subject to:

  • Meeting eligibility of requested leave type
  • The submission of the FFCRA Leave Request Form
  • Any recommended supporting documentation, as needed

Please note, all employees may be eligible for leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). However, only employees who have worked for at least 30 days with MCSD may be eligible for leave under the Emergency Family Medical Expansion Leave Act (EFMLEA) if they are unable to work or telecommute due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Employees may be excused from work and paid their regular salary or 2/3 of their salary towards a leave of absence under FFCRA. Additionally, employees may be required to use paid time off if all accrued time is exhausted under Policy GARH.

FFCRA may be approved under the following circumstances:

  • an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • an employee is may provide documentation by a medical professional or government agency to self-isolate or quarantine due to suspicion of exposure to or diagnosis with COVID-19;
  • an employee is undergoing a period of self-quarantine or isolation pursuant to public health assessment recommendations; and/or
  • an employee is providing care to an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent, or someone who stood in loco parentis when you were a child) who:
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • was directed by a medical professional or government agency to self-isolate or quarantine due to suspicion of exposure to or diagnosis with COVID-19, or
  • is undergoing a period of self-quarantine or isolation pursuant to public health assessment recommendations, and/or
  • an employee is staying at home to provide care for a child (defined as a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild or legal ward of an employee, child of a domestic partner or civil union partner of the employee) due to the closure of the child’s school or childcare center related to COVID-19.

Under certain circumstances, Human Resources will discuss options with employees and their respective supervisors to determine other feasible options including but not limited to telecommuting, blended intermittent and telecommuting schedule, etc.

Leave Types under FFCRA
Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) is available to all employees as follows:   

  • Full-time employees eligible for 80 hours (basically two weeks)
  • Part-time employees eligible for average hours worked over two weeks
  • Advance notice from employee not required, reasonable notice after first day can be required
  • Name, dates for leave, qualifying reason, statement that this is reason employee cannot work
  • Name of child, name of the school that is closed, representation that no one else is available

Pay for EPSLA may be as follows: 

  • Regular pay not to exceed $511 per day for reasons 1, 2 and 3
  • Regular pay not to exceed $200 per day for reasons 4, 5, and 6 (2/3 of regular pay)

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) may be extended to employees who have worked for MCSD for at least 30 days and are unable to work or telecommute due to a need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Pay for EFMLEA may be as follows:

  • First 10 days of this leave is unpaid but employees are required to use accrued time under Policy GARH
  • Regular pay not to exceed $200 per day for reasons 4, 5, and 6 (2/3 of regular pay)
Responsibilities
Employees will:

  • Notify their respective supervisor and Human Resources of a leave request, in writing, with as much notice as possible or within five (5) business days of the initial absence.
  • Begin the leave of absence process with Human Resources by providing the FFCRA Leave Request Form prior to beginning your leave or within five (5) business days of the initial absence.
  • Provide any recommended supporting documentation; as needed, but not required.
  • Confirm anticipated return date with their respective supervisor and Human Resources at least one week prior to their return date. This provides your supervisor and Human Resources the ability to review any documentation for an extension, ensure continued payment, and/or provides employees with options on other rights they may have such as ADA, leave extension, etc.

Human Resources will:

  • Notify the respective supervisor and Chief (as needed) in writing about the request and the expected deadline to submit the FFCRA Leave Request Form and any recommended supporting documentation, as needed.
  • Once the leave request form and supporting documentation (as needed) is received and reviewed; the respective Human Resources representative will designate the final status of the leave via email to the employee, supervisor, and Chief (as needed).
  • Follow up with the employee one week prior to the anticipated return to work date to ensure confirmation or any changes to the leave
  • Provide consistent updates to the respective Supervisor regarding any changes to the leave and process any necessary actions or paperwork as required.

Supervisors will:

Notify Human Resources of a request for a leave as soon as possible to ensure compliance with federal guidelines.

How To Apply for an FFCRA Leave of Absence
  1. CLICK HERE to access the FFCRA Leave Request Form and enter all requested information.
  2. Submit the completed form to Human Resources, at leavespecialist@muscogee.k12.ga.us, with any recommended supporting documentation for the request.
  3. Human Resources will notify you and your supervisor of the approved leave and duration and/or pending information based on the receipt of your documentation.
  4. Should you need to make any changes related to your leave; please contact your respective Human Resources Coordinator or email  leavespecialist@muscogee.k12.ga.us.
Recommended Supporting Documentation
  • Diagnosed with or caring for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19: a letter or note from a health care provider that specifically states the employee or family member’s diagnosis of COVID-19 or suspicion of exposure to COVID-19, including a start date and estimated return to work date, will satisfy the documentation requirement.
  • Self-quarantine:documentation from a local, state, or federal government agency, medical professional, office, or hospital with proof that the employee was recently in a location where the recommendation by a governmental agency is to self-quarantine will satisfy the requirement to provide documentation.
  • School closure: a letter or communication from the school, child care center, or local, state or federal governmental agency will satisfy the documentation requirement

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

On March 27, 2020, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act went into effect to provide economic relief for employees who may be impacted by a reduction in work hours or layoffs. Below are two (2) provisions which are covered by the CARES Act which employees may be entitled to:

  • Unemployment insurance benefits
  • Retirement distribution
Unemployment Insurance Benefits under CARES Act
The CARES Act covers the following:

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides a $600 supplement per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs – State and Federal.
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances.

Please note, the District is filing partial claims under the GDOLand CARES Act guidelines. If you have received an Unemployment Claim but did not file; please contact Human Resources to discuss options.

If you have questions or need more information CLICK HERE to email Brenda Reed, Human Resources Director.

Retirement Loan Rights under CARES Act
The District has adopted the following provisions to your supplemental retirement plan(s).  If you or a dependent is directly affected by this pandemic or by a financial loss as a result of the pandemic below are provisions made to allow you to access your retirement funds early:

  • Coronavirus-related distributions. Plan sponsors can add a new distribution event that would allow eligible participants to take penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts of up to $100,000 (combined limit) during 2020. The distributions would not be subject to the required 20% tax withholding. In addition, individuals have the option to repay the distribution to an eligible retirement plan or IRA within 3 years. If not repaid, the distribution under the act would be included in the qualified individual’s taxable income ratably over a three year period, unless the individual elected to have it taxed in the year of distribution. Eligible participants are defined as those who test positive or whose spouse or dependent tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, or a participant who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, being unable to work due to lack of child care or the result of the closure or reduction in hours of a business owned or operated by the individual. Participants may self certify if they meet eligibility requirements:
  • Loans to those eligible for Coronavirus-related distributions. Plan sponsors can modify their loan provisions to allow an eligible participant to receive a plan loan up to $100,000 or 100% of vested balance, whichever is less. The modified loan limit is effective for loans made for a 180-day period beginning on March 27, 2020. Plan sponsors can also allow eligible participants with either existing loans with a payment due date after March 27, 2020, or new loans made after that date through December 31, 2020, to delay payments for one year. Any subsequent repayments must be adjusted to reflect the delay and interest accrued during the delay. In determining the maximum loan period (normally five years), the delay period is disregarded.
  • Temporary waiver of required minimum distributions. Plan sponsors can choose to waive minimum distribution requirements for 2020. The waiver applies to any distribution required to be made in the calendar year 2020, including 2019 distributions being made by an individual’s required beginning date of April 1, 2020, so long as the distribution was not already made before January 1, 2020; 2020 required minimum distributions and a beneficiary receiving distributions over a 5-year period.

For questions or more information; please contact ARISTA CONSULTING GROUP at (877)434-7786 or email first@aristacg.com

Performance Evaluations

On March 27, 2020, the Georgia Superintendent ordered that the provisions of Code Section 20-2-210 relating to the Annual Performance Evaluation for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) be suspended through July 31, 2020.

The following Annual Performance Evaluations have been suspended for the remainder of School Year (SY) 2019-2020:

  • TKES and LKES Annual Performance Evaluations
  • Professional Annual Performance Evaluations
  • Classified Annual Performance Evaluations
  • Non-Certified Annual Performance Evaluations

If you have questions, CLICK HERE to contact Lynn Romeo, Compensation Process Analyst.

Our Mission & Vision

Our mission is to inspire and equip all students to achieve unlimited potential.

The MCSD is a beacon of educational excellence where all are known, valued, and inspired.

Muscogee County School District

2960 Macon Road | Columbus, GA 31906

706-748-2000